PHNOM PENH, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday ordered all relevant ministries and institutions to take "strict measures" to prevent and eliminate the spread of Avian Influenza H5N1 virus, which has killed 8 people so far this year.
In a circular signed on Friday, Hun Sen said during the first two months of 2013, the H5N1 virus has broken out and infected to nine people -- eight of them died.
"Even though there are preventive measures by relevant institutions, the spread and death toll from the virus are still alarmingly concerned," he said.
To ensure the safety for people more effectively, the premier ordered the ministry of agriculture to continue strengthening necessary and urgent measures to prevent and eliminate the spread of H5N1 virus.
"The ministry must thoroughly and constantly inspect poultry' s health throughout the country, and carry out bio-safety and sanitary measures at all poultry farms, slaughter-houses and markets," he said in the circular. "The ministry must promote broader awareness of bird flu virus to the public."
He also instructed the ministry of agriculture and the ministry of health to continue strengthening cooperation in information exchange to take measures timely to prevent and eliminate the virus.
In addition, he ordered the ministry of interior to take a firm and urgent measure to prevent the illegal trafficking of poultry and poultry-made products in all images and at anywhere.
Cambodia sees the worst outbreak of the virus this year since the disease was first identified in 2004. To date, the country has recorded 30 human cases of the virus, killing 27 people.
The latest death was a 35-year-old man from eastern Kampong Cham province, who died on Monday.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Mam Bunheng appealed to people to be more careful about the outbreaks of bird flu virus, urging people not to eat ill or dead poultry.
"Poultry must be cooked well. Properly cooked poultry meat is therefore safe to consume," he told reporters.
Sonny Krishnan, communications officer with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Cambodia, said that home slaughtering and preparation of sick or dead poultry for food is hazardous.
He said parents and guardians should keep their children away from poultry -- do not allow them to touch feathers and do not keep poultry in their house.
"Parents and guardians must also make sure children wash their hands with soap and water after any contact with poultry," he said. "If they have fast or difficult breathing, they should seek medical attention at the nearest health facility."